Sunday, 19 December 2010

027 The Aztecs Part 1: The Temple of Evil

EPISODE: The Aztecs Part 1: The Temple of Evil
TRANSMITTED: 23 May 1964
WRITER: John Lucarotti
DIRECTOR: John Crockett
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Aztecs

Right, The Aztecs. I've seen this a grand total of twice: Once when I bought the video a few years after it came out, and once with the commentary on after the DVD was released. I've got the book but never read it. It's a historical story and they've never interested me. I know there's something in there about Barbara wanting to stop the Aztec's sacrifices and that the great John Ringham is in it but that's about it. So on with the DVD.

Oooh, the tapestry at the start of the Play All option on the DVD was in the story and now lives in designer Barry Newbery's house - there's a picture of it on the Restoration Team website.

We've materialised in an Aztec tomb. It emerges that Barbara, a history teacher remember, is an expert on the Aztecs. Susan & Barbara find an exit, Barbara is seen by a priest who calls the guards to capture her. Susan fetches the Doctor & Ian but as soon as they go through the door of the tomb it seals behind them. They are greeted by the high priest Autloc who thinks they are the servants of Yetaxa, a former high priest, who Barbara has been mistaken as the reincarnation of. The travellers are reunited with Barbara, they worry what will happen when the Aztecs realise Barbara isn't Yetaxa. The priests Autloc and Tlotoxl (pronounced ya tox al) arrange for Barbara to be presented to the people, just before the rains will come. The Doctor & Ian are allowed to go out amongst the people. The priests decide Ian will lead their warriors while the Doctor is taken to the garden of peace. Ian will have to fight Ixta, the Axtec's strongest warrior, for command of the army. The Doctor takes a shine to Cameca, one of the women in the garden of peace, and plies her for information on the temple. Ian's duties involve escorting a human sacrifice to the alter,which he's not happy with. The Doctor insists he must comply as the sacrifice is part of the Aztecs culture. The Doctor tells Barbara not to interfere, but she won't listen. She wants to forbid the people to make human sacrifices reasoning that if they stop the sacrifices it will save the Aztecs when the Spanish arrive in a few years time. She interrupts the sacrifice, but the victim is shocked claiming he has been denied honour and throws himself off the temple as the storm starts confirming to the mind of the Aztec priest Tlotoxl that the rains need death to summon them. Tlotoxl concludes that "Yetaxa" is a false goddess and vows to destroy her.

That dragged. Big time. Felt more like an hour than 25 minutes. But in there we do get an important concept to Doctor Who: don't interfere with established events.

1 comment:

  1. "But in there we do get an important concept to Doctor Who: don't interfere with established events."

    Unless the writer has decided that it's okay to do so in which case, go ahead...

    This is actually one of the reasons I liked Waters of Mars. All previous "fixed points in time" were set in the past, as if important history only happened on Earth, and only before the 21st century. That story actually had the "don't change time!" moment be set in the future, which was a refreshing change.